Bishop Giovanni Martinelli told the Fides agency that the situation in Tripoli is "quite calm" despite the ongoing conflict as rebels seek to overthrow Moammar Gadhafi. The prelate added that the "mood of the people is brought down by the continual queues for fuel and the difficulties in obtaining food."

The 69-year-old bishop reported a meeting with representatives from other Christian denominations in Tripoli as well as the World Islamic Call Society (WICS).

"It was like a gathering of friends, very positive," he said. "The representatives from WICS reiterated their appreciation for the work of Christians in Libya and reaffirmed their willingness to cooperate with us."

Bishop Martinelli also affirmed that "fraternal solidarity" shown by other episcopal conferences has been a source of comfort.

He expressed gratitude for conferences including those of Italy, northern Africa and the United States.